I have decided to post this story here, too! AU insanity lies ahead. Be warned.


Adventures in the Land of B'Ooz

Luke Skywalker straightened up, rubbing his sore back with his dust-covered fingers. It had taken nearly half the day, but he'd finally located and purchased the condenser parts Uncle Owen had sent him into Anchorhead to find. Running a moisture farm was hard work, and Luke looked forward to the day he would finally be able to leave this dust-ball system behind. He felt a pang of guilt thinking about that, though. Aunt Beru would miss him terribly, and Luke was certain he'd miss her, as well. Uncle Owen…now that was a different matter entirely. Sometimes Luke felt like nothing more than a hired hand to his gruff uncle, although Beru assured him that Owen loved Luke. It was just that he had a difficult time showing affection. At least that's what Beru claimed. Sometimes, Luke had his doubts. Just the other day, Luke had casually mentioned how he'd like to someday go to Coruscant and do some research and try to locate his birth-parents. Boy, did Uncle Owen come unhinged about that comment, and after ranting for several minutes about how 'ungrateful' Luke was, he'd stomped off.

Sighing, he loaded the last of his boxes onto the back of the speeder, strapped them down, and started to get inside when a voice interrupted his thoughts.

"Luke!"

The young blond turned to face the caller. "Hi, Biggs. What are you doing?"

The slightly older man grinned. "A bunch of us guys are heading over to see the latest holo-flik. Wanna come? It's one of my last days of freedom before I head out to the Academy."

"Can't," Luke replied, waving at the stacked boxes. "It took a long time to find these parts, and Uncle Owen is going to be annoyed half the day is gone already."

Biggs shook his head in dismay. "You need to ship out with me. See the galaxy." He waved in the general direction of the yellow, parched land beyond the city limits. "There's more to life than sand and heat, Luke, and it's all waiting to be discovered."

"I know," Luke replied sadly. "Next year I'll be able to go."

"Not too likely," Biggs responded knowingly. "Your old Uncle will never let you leave. He likes the free labor you give him. He treats you like his slave."

Luke frowned at Bigg's description. "No, he doesn't. He just can't afford to hire help right now."

"Whatever," Biggs said. "Have fun fixing those exciting condensers." With that, he headed off to the invitingly cool holo-theater, leaving Luke staring at his back, and fighting down the temptation to risk Uncle Owen's wrath by joining the group.

Giving up the idea, Luke jumped into the speeder and headed for home. His boring, dry-as-dust, unexciting home. He maneuvered the craft out of town, then noticed an ominous dark cloud in the distance, and the hot wind blowing in his direction noticeably picked up. From long experience, Luke knew this cloud didn't contain rain, but a funnel of choking, thick, dangerously hot sand. Luke threw caution to the wind as he floored the accelerator. The hot wind whipped his hair back, and the ground blurred. The thrill of the high speed sent his blood surging through his veins, and he urged the craft to even greater velocity. The indicator lights on the dashboard began changing, moving from the normal green color to yellow… then orange… then red. Still, Luke pushed the machine in an attempt to outrun the sandstorm, listening as the whining noise from the engine increased. Then, suddenly, the speeder gave a loud bang. White smoke began seeping out from the edges of the engine compartment, and the vehicle started to buck up and down. It finally took a dive, nose first, into the sand, knocking Luke out of the craft.

Grumbling, Luke stood up and brushed the dust from his tunic, glaring at the broken speeder. "Stupid thing," he muttered under his breath as he popped the engine compartment. He drew back, wrinkling his nose at the strong odor of smoke and burnt coolant. One look told him all he needed to know – the speeder was going to need a complete engine overhaul. Luke was at least twenty klicks from his homestead, the storm was rapidly approaching, and he didn't have any spare speeder parts with him.

"Uncle Owen is going to kill me," Luke complained, pulling out his comlink. Of course, the storm might kill him first, he thought morosely. He fiddled with the controls and spoke clearly into the small tube, "Aunt Beru? Are you there? Hello?" The only sound in return was static, and Luke shook the small device in frustration. "Great… just great! Don't tell me this is broken, too. Does nothing work right on this stupid planet?"

"I hardly think you can blame Tatooine for your broken speeder, considering how fast you were pushing the poor thing," a refined voice said from behind his left shoulder.

Luke jumped back, startled. He spun around to face the covered being. "Who… are you?"

A human hand pushed back the brown robe's cowl, revealing the face of a kindly-looking older man. "Ben Kenobi. Perhaps I can be of assistance."

"You're Ben Kenobi?" Luke asked in surprise. "I've heard of you."

"Good things, I hope."

"Well," Luke said slowly, not wanting to hurt the man's feelings by telling him that most of his friends and family considered the hermit a bit odd. "It's just talk."

"I see," Ben replied, stroking his chin thoughtfully. "And you would be…?"

"Oh. I'm Luke Skywalker!"

The older man's expression shifted briefly, taking on a pensive look before once again turning pleasant and benign. "You should probably come with me, Luke."

"Come with you?" Luke repeated, shaking his head negatively. "No, I've got to get home. My uncle needs these parts."

Ben waved his hand toward the west. "Your comlink won't work because of interference from that dust storm. We should just barely have time to make it to my home in the Jundland Wastes before it arrives."

Luke glanced worriedly over his shoulder where Ben indicated. Indeed, the large mass of black, swirling dust was getting much closer. "I can't leave my speeder parked out here," he said. "It'll either get buried by sand or Jawas will steal it."

"And if you stay with the speeder, you will most certainly die," Ben returned. "Is an old speeder and some equipment worth your life?"

"Considering my uncle's reaction when he finds out I lost them, I'd have to say the answer is yes."

Ben laughed. "Then I'll accompany you home once the storm has passed and take the blame."

"It's not like I'm going to have much of a choice," Luke groused, scratching his head.

He followed the old man, who moved surprisingly fast, into the canyon and then up a rocky incline to what appeared to be a natural cave, with the opening fitted with a durasteel door.

"So this is where you live," Luke said.

Ben smiled. "The door is a dead give-away, isn't it?"

Luke flushed, embarrassed at his comment.

The old hermit tugged at the door, and indicated Luke should enter. "Come inside, son. I don't bite, even if your friends think I do."

"Nah," Luke said as he followed the man into the cool and surprisingly homey interior. "They don't think you're a vampire. Just a wizard, that can do magic."

"A wizard?" Ben said thoughtfully, stroking his beard. "Perhaps my reputation precedes me."

"So you are a wizard?" Luke questioned, startled.

"The galaxy contains many things that cannot be explained, and whatever cannot be explained is frequently considered magic." The old man hesitated, then indicated that Luke should take a seat. "Would you like something to eat or drink? I am something of a magician in the kitchen."

Nodding, Luke sat down on an old, but comfortable sofa, and watched as Ben disappeared into another room. He could hear the man rattling around in the other room, and felt his eyelids grow heavy as the outside wind howled louder with each passing minute. Suddenly, the outer door banged open, and Luke sat up in surprise as two droids hustled inside the hut.

The first droid was a short, blue and white astromech, and he was closely followed by a tall, gold-colored humanoid droid. "I am telling you, Artoo, this is a mistake!"

The little droid gave an annoyed sounding toodle, and rolled past Luke without pausing.

"We are NOT late, I am telling you!" the tall droid argued. "Where do you think you're going?"

"Hey!" Luke interrupted. "Where did you come from?"

The tall droid waved his arm toward the outside door. "We came from over there."

"Do you belong to Old Ben?"

The tall droid hesitated briefly. "What do you think we are… slaves? How insulting!" He returned his attention to the astromech droid, who was busying tugging at a tiny door with his extended 'arm'. The door was about waist high, and Luke hadn't noticed it before. "Artoo!" the tall droid yelled indignantly. "Do NOT go into that door!" The door swung open, and the little droid tilted forward to clear the top edge of the door, then rolled forward and disappeared inside without hesitating. The tall droid looked at Luke. "He never listens to me. Now I have to follow him, or who knows what kind of trouble he'll get into."

Luke watched in awe as the tall droid bent over at his 'waist' awkwardly, then shuffled into the entryway. Luke jumped up, and peered into the door. Neither droid could be seen, only a long, well-lit, narrow corridor. "Hey!" Luke called out. "Where did you guys go?"

The young man glanced over his shoulder toward the kitchen and debated asking Ben about the strange droids. Then he shrugged, and got down on his hands and knees, and followed the droids down the corridor.